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Boots, Buckets & Chickens Weekend
April 5-6, 2008

Thank you to all the participants for making the Oklahoma Audubon Council's Boots, Buckets and Chickens! weekend at the Selman Ranch a wonderful success! We also thank Sue Selman for her hospitality, and congratulate her on having her ranch designated as Oklahoma's first Important Bird Area (IBA). We had great views of the Lesser Prairie Chickens displaying on the lek, and Saturday morning had a variety of raptor activity. A Harrier flew over the lek, temporarily scattering the birds. Later we observed all activity on the lek cease as the birds hunkered down as a Prairie Falcon was above us. And finally, we observed a Coopers Hawk strike a chicken on the lek, right in front of the blind, though it failed to capture it.

Please scroll down to view photos and more details form the weekend.
Most photos by John Kennington unless otherwise noted.

The view from the blinds. Note the looming threat of wind towers on the horizon.

Some of the activity on the lek


The blinds are entered in the dark, before dawn. The birds disperse from the lek around 9:30-10:00,
when we can then leave without disturbing them.

Sue Selman's ranch house, and the guest lodge, the former train depot from Buffalo, Oklahoma.

Breakfast at Sue's ranch house, followed by some well-deserved rest.

Martin Brown, Eric Beck and John Kennington presenting Sue Selman a plaque
designating the Selman Ranch as Oklahoma's first IBA.

Eric Beck explaining the procedure for fence marking. The Sutton Center has worked out a technique to use vinyl siding starter strips, readily available at any home improvement store. The strips are cut into 2 inch pieces which easily snap on the barbed wire. While the most economical technique the have found, the cost is still $200 per mile of fence.  Everyone then dispersed throughout Sue's ranch to mark fence, where we marked about 2.5 miles of fencing! Thank you to the Sutton Center for providing the fence marking materials we used that weekend.

Above are Laurie and Paul Ribiztki marking fence.
Below is Sharon Kennington, with a close up of how the strips are snapped onto the fencing.

Some marked fence, along with a sign explaining it to the public.

Sarah and Jean Brown put up IBA signs at strategic locations along roads.
It was very windy, making for a bad hair day!

Enjoying a wonderful dinner prepared by Sue.

Saturday evening Dr. Dwayne Elmore gave a very informative talk on Lesser Prairie Chicken ecology.

Birding on the salt flats area of the Selman Ranch. Snowy Plovers were the highlight here.
Salt Flat photos by Sue Selman

Wind Farms just beyond the Selman Ranch.


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